In August 2016, the Irish Department of Justice decided to implement a “six-week rule” for applicants for Irish citizenship. The new rule allows, during the year prior to the citizenship application, a maximum “period of up to six weeks... for absences from [Ireland] for normal holidays and other short-term and temporary nature absences, such as for a business meeting, family bereavement or a medical emergency while abroad.” Exceeding the six-week allowance for absences means that an applicant for citizenship would not meet the requirement, under the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, to have one year of continuous residency immediately before the date of application.
While the number of applicants who have been refused citizenship due to the new policy is unknown, immigration lawyers have noted an increase in such refusals since the new rule came into effect, according to The Irish Times. They expect more rejections in the future based on the six-week rule.
Because this new policy has not been widely publicised, many applicants and their solicitors were unaware of the change. Lawyers have also criticised the new, six-week limit as lacking legislative basis and being unconstitutional. According to The Irish Times, a High Court challenge to the policy is believed to be likely.
Read more from: The Irish Times
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